The Gumby Haircut (History, Detailed look and Gallery)

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

Named after the iconic clay animation character, the Gumby haircut stands out for its unique shape and cultural significance.

What initially started out as a mistake would become one of the most popular hairstyles in black American culture during the mid-80s to early 90s.

Our editorial details the look on how it came to be as well as its influence in pop culture.

How Did the Gumby Haircut Become Popular?

The year is 1988, we see Bobby Brown showcase one of his most iconic looks which mark a moment in culture, the gumby!

Bobby Brown Haircut

For further context we have to remember the style of prominence during this time ranged between Jheri Curls, Afro’s and flat tops so when you decide to pull this off its bound to gain mass attention.

Interestingly enough the Gumby hairstyle’s was initially created as a mistake by his barber. Bobby Brown’s hairstylist inadvertently created the unique shape by cutting a distinct mid-section into the hair.

This unexpected twist transformed into a trendsetting look that resonated with a generation looking for distinctive and unconventional styles.

Gumby Hairstyle in Pop Culture

We would continue to see evidence of the hairstyles influence in pop culture by Tupac in the movie juice.

Photo Courtesy from the movie Juice

Whilst there aren’t many moments of Tupac with Hair as most will remember him with a bald head what does stand out about the time was his hair in the gumby.

The film featured the young and charismatic Tupac Shakur, whose character, Bishop, sported look and we even had Young Joc paying homage to him for this.  

The haircut’s appearance in “Juice” solidified its connection with urban culture and youth expression. Tupac’s adoption of the Gumby style further cemented its place in the 90s zeitgeist, highlighting the hairstyle’s ability to capture the spirit of an era.

Similarities and Differences Between The Gumby and the Flat Top

It’s the 1980s ,what style you picking young man? The Will Smith Flat Top or the Bobby Brown Gumby?

Differences Between The Gumby and the Flat Top

The Gumby hairstyle and the flat top share a common foundation—a flat horizontal top section—but they diverge in their overall appearance and execution.

The Gumby features a dramatic, sculpted curve that defines the mid-section of the hair, tapering down towards the sides and back.

Whilst the flat top maintains a more uniform flatness across the entire top section of the hair, creating a sharp and boxy silhouette.

Hip Hop Hairstyles come in multiple variations as proven by the flat top and gumby.

The Gumby Name and Cartoon Connection

The Gumby hairstyle draws its name and inspiration from the animated character “Gumby.” Created by Art Clokey in the 1950s.

Gumby is a green clay humanoid figure known for his flexibility and adventurous spirit.

The Gumby hairstyle pays homage to the character’s distinctive flat-topped head and tapered sides, makes sense that the haircut is named this too, right.

The legacy of the Hairstyle

While the Gumby hairstyle may have gained prominence during the late 1980s and 1990s, its no longer styled much in contemporary times.

The gumby haircut in 2023

You may see it worn during festivals perhaps by millennials wanting to relive the 90s, however it’s a trend which has completed faded.

The nostalgia associated with this distinctive haircut simply takes our minds by to the late 80s and 90s.

Whilst I do mention this not being a prominent style in 2023 and onwards it could be brought back due to our love for nostalgia.

Extended Gallery

How to Maintain the Gumby

Maintaining the Gumby comes down to 1 thing which is biweekly visits to your barber so he or she continues to create the distinctive mid-section.

Depending on how fast your hair grows you may want to go weekly.

We suggest every 2 weeks as this will enable the flat top to maintain its boxed shape whilst your sides are faded for a complimentary finish!


The Gumby hairstyle’s journey from an animated character’s silhouette to a cultural phenomenon showcases its power of creative expression.

Its accidental inception by Bobby Brown’s music video and Tupac’s on-screen presence, turned the Gumby hairstyle into an emblem of black creative hairstyles.

Just as the clay figure Gumby continues to evoke nostalgia, the Gumby hairstyle continues to shape hair trends and capture the imagination of those who dare to sport its distinctive silhouette.

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